Monday, June 8, 2015

Aloha to Savage Fest



Our church hosts the Strawberry Festival (link) in conjunction with Savage Fest.   From the Savage Community Association (link),

A rich vein of American industrial history flows through Savage, MD. Named after Philadelphia merchant John Savage, the town is located in the southeastern corner of Howard County, Maryland about 12 miles south of Baltimore and 20 miles north of Washington, D.C.


The Savage Bluegrass band kicked off the festival.


My oldest son volunteered with the bounce house.


The goats craved attention at the petting zoo ...


 ... while the pony was happy to munch in the sun.


The Marines served sausages ...


... and puppets entertained children!


Glad to see the effort to conserve natural habitats.


Joshua Barney, a Naval hero from the War of 1812, made a guest appearance.  He was a Baltimore native.


My youngest son's troop hosted a snow cone stand ...


... the perfect treat for a hot summer day!


Does your town host a festival?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, June 13, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, July 14, on my book blog at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

The Savage Volunteer Firefighters 




Sunday, June 7, 2015

Aloha to the Strawberry Festival and Crafty Cupcakes


My family volunteered on Saturday at the Strawberry Festival.


The town of Savage grew in the early 1800s with its cotton mill. Our church was built by the mill owners to minister to the mill workers.  The church tower is now home to the original mill bell.


It's strawberry season ... and strawberry shortcake is a popular item to order!


The church ladies make tasty treats ...


... and crafty cupcakes!


Here's a close up of the crab ...


... the monkeys, and the long ear dogs!  How would you splurge your calories - strawberry shortcake or crafty cupcakes?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, June 12, 10  pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 14, at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Savage Mill at this link.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Aloha to the Navy Boneyard - A steersman for a stormy day


I recently spotted a travel writing contest on social media.  I wrote the required 500 word essay only to realize the prize - a trip to San Francisco for a travel writing workshop - conflicted with the dates I am taking my son to college.   Still, my interest in travel writing is piqued ... and you, dear readers, will be my test audience.   I look forward to writing more essays.  

Over on my book blog, SOS Aloha, we have been celebrating National Military Appreciation Month. It is only fitting that we close this celebration with a tribute to the silent warriors of Pearl Harbor.



He ho'okele wa'a no ka la 'ino.
A steersman for a stormy day.

Hawaii overflows with natural beauty. Yet a quest for buried treasure sent a van full of military spouses from Pearl Harbor to a concrete jungle. Inspired by Storage Wars, we embarked on an adventure off the beaten path to a storage auction in West Oahu.

Our quest took us through Waipahu, a gritty outgrowth of immigrant camps from the Oahu Sugar Plantation. We threw caution in the wind in search of quick riches in an industrial park heavily guarded by razor wire. Despite the questionable neighborhood, a crowd of kama’aina (locals) greeted us in pidgin, a common language developed between the immigrants. They talk story (chit chat) of the bounty they found in other auctions across the island (and places where they could resell the items). Once the auctioneer called for the started of the sale, we followed the crowd through the halls, as depicted on the reality show, only to find broken furniture in the delinquent units. But we all drew our breath when the auctioneer opened the last unit of the day; it contained four military foot lockers neatly stacked like toy soldiers in formation. Purchased for $800, the buyer promptly secured the unit with his own lock, refusing to satisfy our curiosity of what treasure might be found in the chests. The crowd dispersed, breaking apart the temporary bond we formed in search of a secret cache. Yet the foot lockers motivated an impromptu detour on our way home.

We still drove back to Pearl Harbor, but headed to the Middle Loch, where few tourists venture. We arrived at the Navy bone yard and parked along the chain link fence erected for utility, not viewing. The ghost ships floated less than 500 feet away. We sat on the concrete barriers, watching these gentle giants in silence. The seawater slapped the docks, creating a rhythmic drumbeat calling koa (warriors) to action. The decaying ships faced an uncertain future; they could be scraped, sold, or sunk for target practice. Yet the koa still had stories to tell and we listened to wind.  The Valley Forge, the New Orleans, the Belleau Wood – ships named after famous battles – served valiantly for our country, only to find themselves abandoned in Pearl Harbor.   In honor of their bravery, we saluted them upon our departure.

Later that night, my family asked me if I found buried treasure at the storage auction. I replied I found something better – a steersman for a stormy day.


If you were to write a travel story, what would be the topic of your essay?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, June 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 7, at SOS Aloha. 

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Monday, May 25, 2015

Aloha to Dallas - Katy Trail and Historic Sights


Historical author Sally MacKenzie and I walked several days in the morning, trekking over 5+ miles.  Along the way, we discovered the Katy Trail.  From Wikipedia (link):

The Katy Trail is a jogging, walking, inline skating, and bicycling path that runs through the Uptown and Oak Lawn areas of Dallas, following the path of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, which was known as MKT or the Katy.



Back in Downtown Dallas, we passed the Texas School Book Depository Building ...



... marking a dark day in American history.


Here's the Old Red Museum we spotted from the Reunion Tower (link).



Speaking of the Reunion Tower, it stands guard over the Hyatt Hotel to the right.   We dodged the raindrops back to the hotel.



Do you have a walking path near you?  One randomly selected commenter from my RT posts wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1, at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City



Aloha to Dallas - Giant Book Fair


The Giant Book Fair features authors of all genres - Teen, New Adult, Inspirational, and Fiction.  Above is JD Hart (actor and narrator), Sharon Hamilton (author of military romance), and Tamara Argyle (Navy Surgeon).  I hang out with very talented people!


Crista McHugh is an Air Force vet ....


Julie Miller is the daughter of a Marine Corps veteran ...


Here's the flight suit from Jamie Rae, an Air Force vet ...



Susan Stoker is an Army spouse ...


Fun loving Angel Payne loves all military men!


Julie Rowe is my favorite Canadian author ...


Victoria Vane kicked up her heels ...


Mary Burton remains calm ... 


Rebecca Yarros is an Army spouse ...


Tamara poses with a cover model ...


Blogger extraordinaire Kim Rocha also snuggles with a cover model.


Sally MacKenzie and Ashlyn Macnamara hide the chocolate ...


Kennedy Layne is married to a retired Marine ... 


Randi Alexander hangs out with Rowdy, the battle buddy bear.



The book fair makes interesting table mates, including Sara Humphreys and Elizabeth Hoyt.



Megan Mulry always smiles.   What swag do you like from authors?  One randomly selected commenter from my RT posts wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1, at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City



I found the chocolate! 



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Aloha to Dallas - Make Your Own Fascinator with Eloisa James


Saturday's FAN-tastic Day turned into craft day courtesy of Eloisa James

You don't have to be going to a royal wedding — or be a duchess — to have the trendiest little hat in town. Join hostess Eloisa James and her guest authors: Lynda Aicher, Elizabeth Boyle, Elizabeth Essex, Shana Galen, Erin Knightly, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Sheila Roberts, Damon Suede, and Meredith Wild for an afternoon of trimming your very own fascinator! The authors will even join you in this millinery mayhem by creating their own fascinators. There will be tons of glitter, feathers, flowers, giveaways, refreshments, time for pictures — and most importantly, fun! With a huge thank you to Lisa Kleypas for so lovingly co-sponsoring this fun event.


Shana Galen and Elizabeth Essex came dressed in fascinators! Eloisa made several fascinators as examples ...


A white bird with purple flowers ...


A yellow bird with red flowers ...


Two birds with swirls ...


 Blue feathers with ribbons ...


A reader posed for me in the lobby ...


Two readers posed in the elevator.   What materials would you use to make your fascinator?  One randomly selected commenter from my RT posts wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1, at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City